The Sailor & The Mermaid

February 15, 2008
By Samuel Melnyk, Mohnton, PA

Along the riverbank, beyond all of the fields,
Lies a solitary pond where all the water yields.
Praising the water’s edge, careful not to dredge,
Are cattails so thin and myrtle so precious.
Through ferns like feathers and grass so luscious
Are lily pads so sweet and pond ripples so wondrous.

Through the lily pads and a little bit farther
Rests the beautiful nymph in her cultivated water.
She is placed upon the bank, staring wondrously at the sky,
Wondering why the morning water is more or less so divine.
She runs a dewy grass blade atop her fine fin: tickling it from rest.
Then she draws her fingers in her hair, laying it gently on her breast.

Another nymph was across the pond, his hair as fine as string.
He presents a small smirk on his face as he hears the childish frog sing.
The frog was perched upon a flower and was as green as sweet-tea mint.
And when he sings, he only smiles, and his eyes make a sophisticated glint.
He clears his throat and fumbles awkwardly until he hit the right tune;
He clears his throat and fumbles once more, for he prefers to croak at noon.

The mermaid soon shimmies from the bank and in the blurry pond,
Then drops beneath the water’s edge, leaving the buoyant grass frond.
Below the water’s surface, where no human could see,
The mermaid had started swimming and hums melodies with glee.
Nearby was a blue-green sea turtle, which was seduced by her song:
Succumbed by the melody, he pauses, before he is gone.

Meanwhile: the merman is waiting, half restless by the morning.
He soon picks up a cattail and fumbles it while pondering.
The frog is now jumping playfully, from lily pad to lily pad;
And the nymph watches slowly at the frog: half creature, half lad.
The creature stops on a large flower, crested awkwardly on the bank.
He then gave two small hops on top and surprisingly the flower sank.

The merman turns his head slowly to the right and pulls himself ashore.
Three of the frog’s bubbles retreat upwards, but then there is no more.
The sun is still shining and the clouds are still gliding,
And the merman realizes the frog is not worth finding.
The merman laughs, smirks, and starts tracing scales on his hand:
Surely that clever frog will soon find himself on land.

Years Later: From the pond, and through the subtle fields,
Lays a small harbor lighthouse where all the wheat yields.
Through a forest so thick, and terrain so rocky,
Is a small stone cottage with a man young and cocky.
He is a sailor at heart, a professor at mind and soul,
And he awakes with a start as the clock-bell tolls.

He thinks: The dream- was it only a dream?
A pond so blue and fern fronds so green?
I can feel the way the water touches between my fingers,
And the smell of sweet water lilies’ still mindfully lingers. . .
He cleared his throat and swiped his fine hair,
And wondered thoughtfully of the sensual Nymph in her lair.

He felt like he knew her, in this accursed dream,
And he knew he knew her when he wondered with much keen.
He mocked a laugh, related to the merman’s chuckle,
And then he realized how similar, how exuberant and subtle.
He crawled from his bed, humming, while looking in the mirror:
My looks are not that comparable: which was a consolation to his fear.

He envisioned in his mind, half remembering and half thinking:
All of these distant and vague events needed linking.
He thought of the woman, her long hair on her breast,
And then of her in his dream and how it kept him from rest.
And then the youth-like man with a blue and purple fin and fine hair;
And also the way he smirked, the way laughter would sweeten the air.

It was all real, even the fantasy: not at all a dream.
It was reality, it was, and with that, the man made a scheme.
He would pass the riverbank and all of its fellow fields,
And he would find the pretty pond where all the water yields,
And he would lay by the pond’s edge- its water so teal,
And he would tell the beautiful mermaid how he really does feel.

So the sailor ate toast with raspberry jam, constantly thinking he was mad.
But the real truth was he desperately needed to find her- he decided he had.
Today was a lucky day: he could feel it in his pulsing blood;
The way it burned and fluently pulsed in a seemingly endless flood.
He was thinking of the mermaid, her lips so precious.
But before he thought to far, he was careful and became cautious.

He thought: What if this Nymph was nonexistent- a mere fragment of my mind?
Would I go all of his way to find nothing, spending all my time?
But the way his dream was- he could not forget- so luscious.
And the mermaid and the water’s surroundings so wondrous.
He looked at the grandfather clock: quarter to eight.
It was early and he was now calm; so he left without haste.

He only had to cross the riverbank, cattails as sharp as knives,
And then find the solitary pond, where both water nymphs thrive.
He combed back his fine hair with his tired fingertips,
And then he noticed the fields, where the far off bluish mountain dips.
Then, even though he thought he was calm, he broke out in a trot.
And even though the sun was sweltering, he noticed nothing was even hot.

He hopped through the fields, resembling the frog,
And when it came to the riverbank, he just hurtled by crossing a log.
But when he was in spiteful view of the watery pond,
He let out a gasp of laughter, looking at the emerald fern fronds.
How exact they were to the one’s in his vision,
And when he saw the water, he knew nothing needed a revision.

He dropped by the edge, breathing in the fragrance,
Then he splashed water in his face- oh the sweetness.
But then smoothing strange happened- something very tickling.
Quickly he realized his hands were trembling: tingling.
The pain was searing, blood rising to his arm.
Mustering a choice, he plunged into the cool pond in alarm.

For some reason, the frog hopped in too; intently watching.
The sailor’s blood heated up ragingly and hastily: scorching.
But then it just fully stopped. Pausing. Ending.
He swatted away water plant’s green foliage. Fending.
And then he heard something. Singing. A beautiful voice.
And he swam towards the female’s song, for he had no choice.

He had recently thought his life had collapsed down.
He looked dazed near his legs and the hardened ground.
He could breathe underwater and had just one mended fin:
There were scales of purplish vigor with a sparkling bluish tint.
He stopped swimming as soon as the intriguing voice did.
He soon realized: There is no male nymph other than myself. I am him.

A hand soon rested gently on his chest,
And he turned to see the mermaid, fully beautiful, no less.
The frog was long gone by now, somewhere in the pond.
The frog would contently hide, for their reunion would take long.
He knew these were the right words to add and so the sailor asked: Am a late?
The mermaid only whispered softly: I told you I’d wait.
In the end, the sailor recalled, the mermaid had been telling him this for long;
Maybe not in spoken words, but in his dreams and a particular succumbing song.

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